It’s usually hyperbole when you talk about a combat sports champion being unrivaled. Yet, in the case of Rico Verhoeven in kickboxing, that’s exactly what he is. GLORY has thrown virtually everyone that there is at Verhoeven throughout his world title reign and there have been very few moments where Rico looked human.
At GLORY 54 Rico was tasked with a rematch against Mladen Brestovac, who is known for his deadly left high kick. The two met prior in a match that very much went Rico’s way, but Rico refused to underestimate Brestovac for a second fight. While the odds were in his favor, Rico adjusted his game plan and worked a tight, inside fight with a lot of boxing combinations and set those up with primarily low kicks and push kicks to get Brestovac against the ropes before he’d swarm.
His accuracy was there and his respect for Brestovac’s strengths were staggering. He knew that the head kick would be coming and adjusted his stance accordingly throughout the fight. Brestovac threw those kicks but they were never able to land on the champion. Leading up to the fight Rico talked about how tough Brestovac was and afterwards he said it went exactly as he expected it to, which seemed to surprise people. The key to Verhoeven’s success is that he doesn’t believe his own hype, he just keeps working hard and doing what he does best.
September 29th in Amsterdam will be the next fight for Verhoeven, at the legendary Amsterdam Arena (the sight of Badr Hari’s largest indiscretion ever), now called the Johan Crujiff Arena. That’s a big, big building and just shows how big of a star Verhoeven is in the Netherlands and the faith that GLORY has in him.